If Hard Brexit Is Such a Boon to Business Why Are Big Businesses So Against It?

In the wake of Airbus warning (amongst others) that it could move wing-building out of the UK in the future if there is a no-deal Brexit, people are asking why are big businesses behaving like this.

Big business has the morals of a greedy baby. It doesn’t just want to eat all of its sweets it wants yours and mine too. There are many good reasons why big business is doing what it is doing. I would suggest the principle reason would have to be – money. Money is best made by doing very little for it. The choice big business has is to:

1) Actually leave the UK, with all the associated costs for doing so. Thereby costing the business and ultimately reducing their short term profit margin (the principle concern for any business).
2) Face losing a significant subsidy from the EU. I would posit that this is a lesser concern, because shareholders don’t tend to speculate on the prospect of growth from set subsidies. Subsidies make a business more of sure thing, but for growth to occur business must exploit any means necessary to increase its profits and attract investors. But subsidies are good and you don’t want to lose them. So that leads nicely to…
3) Pretend like they intend to leave and go to the EU, in an attempt to accrue tax breaks, new subsidies and other benefits. This requires minimal effort. Just a bit of headshaking and tutting and assistance from a hysterical media and a fear panicked population (the last 17 years of the war on terror to be taken into account, your honour). This option means they have to spend no money, do nothing that exerts any great energy and sit tight wagging their finger with a big frown.

They know they just have to sit until the weak government opposed by a floundering opposition roll over like puppies who know they’ve been naughty.

Then they scoop them up and say. “Don’t worry, we’re not really going to leave after all, here sign this bit of paper and it will be okay.”
And the government will say. “Yeah okay. Its alright we are in the business of signing blank cheques to big corporate bodies, so we don’t care. This isn’t our money, all we have to do is ask those nice bankers who we helped that time, and they will do their special trick which magics money out of thin air.”
And the bankers will agree and they will say. “You will pay us back with interest.”
And the government will nod their head and tell us it is in our interest and we must pay our taxes.
And we will be thankful to our masters and pay those taxes.
And the shareholders shall be happy because they will have made a profit. And those profits shall be kept by the shareholders.
And when those companies get into debt then they shall be nationalised. Because profit is capitalised and debt is socialised…

… and we all must bear that burden.

Big Business is just doing what it does best. It is exploiting the resources available to it. It would do the same whichever way the Brexit coin was flipped.

Personally I think Brexit is an opportunity for us to take our sweets back. If they don’t want to do business in Britain by all means go elsewhere. I think we can and will learn to cope just fine without them.

The Playstation 4

Within the last 24 hours my wife saved me from a fate worst than insipid irrelevance. We choose not to buy each other christmas presents. I think perhaps we have come to realise that spending obscene amounts of money on material items will not make us love each other any more. We are better off filtering that money towards our children’s presents as their affections are far more likely to be bought by a vast array of simple trinkets. NB It did not work, they do not love us any more and seem to struggle with the abstract concept of love by volume. 

Despite our moratorium on gifts, I am still left with the sense that I am in some way deserving of a gift to myself, and therefore have the right to splash out on a new toy. This is an entirely baseless and selfish notion of which I seem to be unable to satisfactorily quell by myself. This year I had convinced myself that I need to replace my PlayStation 3 with a PlayStation 4. This is in spite of an abundance of reasons as to why this would be a bad idea. 

I do not know why I want a PlayStation 4. I am not a great gamer. In fact gaming strikes me as incredibly unproductive and a selfish waste of time. Other cultural pursuits that I do engage in do not seem so unworthy. Films, for example, are enriching in a way that playing a computer game cannot seen to match. I think perhaps because computer games are seemingly endless immersive experiences, whereas a film usually takes a more rewarding narrative arc. This is after spending many hours playing games in the past. I happen to have played so much Nintendo 64 at university that I left with a joint honours distinction in marijuana and GoldenEye.

I do not like Sony. This stems from an arguement I had with them where I once downloaded a game to my Playstation 3 that was actually for a different platform, and they refused to refund me for the redundant software, in spite of my offering to pay more money for the right software package. The day that happened I vowed never to spend another penny on a Sony product unless I could help it. Only to realise in the intervening period that Sony Corporation tendrils pentrate film, music, television, gaming, electronics, mobile phones, microchips and media management. The likelihood of ensuring that none of my money reached Sony shores seemed futile. I soon abandoned this principalled stance and recently downloaded a platform game from the PlayStation store (this time for the right console) in a Reddit inspired, ill-fated, whimsical rekindling of my past love for gaming. I soon realised gaming was still a massive waste of time, maybe better spent playing one of the guitars I historically just had to buy

Another reason for not buying a PlayStation 4, and probably the best reason, is I don’t need one. I have a PlayStation 3 that works. Okay the controllers seem to have a mind of their own on occasions but surely if that were really a big issue I could buy a new controller. I do not need one. Recently I had a go on a friends virtual reality rig. It was amazingly immersive and I was staggered at how good it actually was. My friend, like me, is a compulsive purchaser of expensive dust gathering items and had purchased a PlayStation VR headset that had taken so long to arrive that he was compelled to purchase an alternate rig in the interim. He offered to give me the PS headset if I got a Playstation 4. As much as I enjoyed virtual reality I was conscious that I was unlikely to use it for any great period of time and the prospect of buying a Playstation 4 was therefore unlikely. 

With the weight of all of the reasoning to the contrary I found myself yesterday afternoon telling my wife that I was about to go out and purchase a Playstation 4. She persuaded me against it. There was little really to persuade. I knew it to be a bad idea. I just needed an adult to tell me so. Because, as the irrepressible man-child I know myself to be, I am incapable of quelling these irrational impulses  by myself. I have no idea why this is. I am an idiot constantly at war with my idiot self. Luckily I have a very understanding wife who apparently has a penchant for idiots. She told me all the things I already knew and the notion abated. 

For some reason I am unaccountably stupid with money. This is exemplified by a time at one Glastonbury where on the Sunday night I had £10.00 left in my pocket. Irrationally I had to spend it. In spite of appeals from a good friend not to waste it I went to a stall and bought a pair of furry handcuffs. My brain slightly addled by a weekend of excess (in truth a couple of years of excess) I thought myself to be funny and irreverent by my purchase. My friend asked me why I did that, he seemed genuinely aghast and a little agreived at my stupidity. Rather than deal with his condemnation, the novelty cuffs now a tawdry motif for my own shortcomings, I gave them to a young couple passing the other way stating “Here, you need these more than me.” I thought this outwardly amusing, inside the whole episode still sits uncomfortable in my gut. It’s one of the moments when relived  in my mind, I audibly call myself a twat. It’s not even that bit a deal. I have spent more money destroying parts of my brain and body with drugs and alcohol to way more detriment than this episode. However, it reflects the same weird compelling feeling that I need to spend money needlessly. It is embarrassing. 

Fortunately I am not the only one in the herd that functions like this. I am perhaps one of the few who admit it. The whole concept of Christmas, in fact society, seems to be built around wanton excess. Having something for the sake of having it rather than genuine need. The food we eat, the things we consume, it is all to an excess that is damaging to the world and to our bodies. It all seems to be driven by this same instinct to consume veraciously with disregard to consequence. I am fortunate that I have somebody level headed enough to tell me that what I know to be a bad idea, is in fact a bad idea. 

Writer’s Block

This has been weighing me down. I keep meaning to write something, thinking about it. Then nothing happens. Things get in the way and I just never seem to get in front of the keyboard. I think about it and then somehow the lack of action turns into guilt. I begin to feel bad for not writing. Then writing seems like an unpleasurable activity. Which, in actuality, it is not.

Here I am though. Back behind the keyboard. The world has apparently radically altered. But for all the talk of catastrophic consequence, it doesn’t seem much has changed. Britain has a strained relationship with the EU. Check. A megalomaniac is in charge of the Whitehouse. Check. Internationalists and global corporations still retain the real power in the world. Check. So business as usual. Ah yes. Sit back relax. Listen to the news. Read the paper. Believe the media. No vested interest there. 

There’s the rub. Vested interest is manifest. Nobody really knows who to trust. People place trust in an opportunity for change rather than a person or political movement. I’m not sure Brexit or Trump would have happened if the perception of an established elite, controlling things behind the scenes, was not a prevailing mindset. I’m not sure there is an appetite for armed revolution in the west. Rising up in a bloody civil war only to form a new establishment hasn’t proven that effective. 

Start taking away people’s iPhones and you might see that wind begin to change. The docilility of the herd seems far from being shaken off into a stampede. Take away the proverbial opiates and the world may begin to alter. Until then we can sit by and bolster our incredulity with each fresh outrage. 

Feels good the get the fingers back on the keys though. 

Day 2 – Holyhead to Cricceith

The first proper day of cycling the Lon Las Cymru route began windy and wet. The weather driving off the Irish Sea straight into me and my bike. I opted for leggings and jacket, with over trousers and rain mac on standby. 

Near the start of the  Lon Las Cymru cycle pathI checked out of Anglesey Outdoors after a swift coffee. I met another guest during coffee who was a sea kayaker from Southampton. I discovered Holy island was somewhat of a Mecca for sea kayaking. Next time I’m here I may have a go at it. I picked up national cycle route 8 just leaving Holyhead. The redundant aluminium smelting chimney protruding through the grey skyline. 

The weather stayed the same, getting bad enough to employ the extra waterproofs outside the village shop at Bethel. That’s also where I bought a cheese and onion pasty, chocolate and crisps for breakfast. All the food groups! 

I passed the Bodowyn burial chamber (or pile of rocks) in a nearby field, but that was the highlight of Anglesey for me. The wind was getting the better of my sense of adventure and interest in the landscape. A vague outline of Snowdonia slowly become more visible the closer I moved to the Menia Straight, the channel that makes Anglesey an island. The trees and shrubs on Anglesey grow in an Easterley direction. Their shape formed by that incessant wind off the Irish Sea that seemingly never lets up. 

Bounders  balanced on top of each other forming a neolithic burial chamber
I aimed to follow my bike sat nav route, but found it had routed to the main A55 rather than national cycle Route 8. Instead of blindly following the technology I opted to follow Route 8 signs, and if necessary pull out my trusty Sustrans map if I got lost. Fortunately, the route is so well signposted there was little chance of losing my way. The Menia suspension bridge is superb. Although I admit to feeling serious vertigo when it became apparent the footpath cantilevers from the main structure. Of course it’s safe but the nagging thought remains; what if? This feeling made more sobering by signs placed by the Samaritans and flower tributes laid for a victim who ignored their invite to phone them and talk. 

I had lunch just the other side of the bridge in a garden centre cafe. Sitting still I realised my mind was quite tired and the break was well needed. I often find on long cycling trips that the brain is a willing victim. Rational thought is the first thing to go and as such decision making becomes clouded and one has to be careful about the judgements and decisions one time takes. Making one poor decision, like skipping a meal, can lead to a series of other poor decisions and it can be easy to find oneself in real trouble. I recently read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer,  a personal account of the 1996 Everest disaster, where 12 people died trying to reach the summit. The book is an account of the kind of fuzzy thinking that is caused when pushing to extremes, where the circumstances in this case were deadly. Although I am not pretending to be in nearly the same challenging environment as those people, I now strictly follow a regime of eating properly and keeping myself hydrated when doing any endurance challenge. I suspect that most outdoor rescue situations probably arise from a series of seemingly minor but ever increasing poor decisions, made because individuals have neglected themselves in some manner.

The Menia suspension bridge viewed from the saddleAfter lunch my mind cleared a bit, as did the weather. Gone was the rain, but the grey cloud remained. It made for a more pleasant ride, not being in layers of waterproofs.

As with the morning’s ride, Route 8 frequently meandered off the sat nav route. This ensured a few extra miles were travelled. 58 instead of the sat nav’s proposed 51. I was surprised how tired I was and I am not sure if I would stick so festidisously to Route 8 the following day as I traverse Snowdonia. The mountains that I could see through the clouds in Criccieth looked pretty inhospitable and would be a tough climb. The weather was forecast as more of the same grey cloud and drizzle. I imagined that I would be looking for any break offered. 

The route from Anglesey to Criccieth was good, but did not have the breathtaking views I had expected. This was mainly due to the weather and partly the comparatively flat landscape of Anglesey. The tree covered trail of Lon Las Menai and Lon Eifion did not assist the views. Lon Las Menai is the path that runs parallel to the Menai Straight to Caernarfon and Lon Eifon the path that runs from Penygroes to Bryncir. The latter trail follows a narrow gauge railway line, although no active rolling stock was evident during as I rode. There were other attractions, such as the Inigo Jones Slateworks at Groeslon, that might have peeked my interest on any other day, but determination to reach my destination had set in and I only stopped to take a look at the outside of the castle in Caernarfon briefly before moving onwards. On a sunny day I imagine I would have taken the time to take a walk around and enjoy a coffee in the main town square. 

Caernarfon CastleThe 12th Century castle at Caernarfon is stunning due to its age and size. I a suspect with the backdrop of Snowdonia to the south west it would be even more spectacular. A view I could only imagine, although by now the cloud had sufficiently thinned to offer the vaguest of outlines of the mountains. The ruined castle at Cricceith has its own coastal beauty but cannot compete on scale to Caernarfon. I did make a serious attempt to look at Cricceith Castle in more detail but the visiting hours were over boy the time I arrived in the town. 

Cricceith town is a lovely little place. I stayed in and B&B on Mona Place. A really lovely landlady who is very knowledgable about Wales but was confused as to why I would be doing such a thing as cycling the country. She made a few endeavours to persuade me to take the train. Although I’m sure the railway has a charm of its own, it is not as appealing to me as cycling. 

I had a curry in the local curry house. The building is great, the food okay, the service good and the cleaniliness appauling. Otherwise it was okay. Glints of Snowdonia were evident as I returned back to my B&B. But I felt what I could see was only a tantalising glimpse of what was there. I will have to return on a sunny day to appreciate what I missed. 

Cycling wise. I found the day pretty exhausting. I decided I was not as fit as I should be too take on this challenge. This was meant to be the easy day to ease myself into things, but I still felt pretty exhausted at the end of it. 

Stats: Miles: 58.6. Ride Time:  6 hours 41 mins. Elevation gain 2900ft. Maximum elevation:427ft. Average moving speed 9.7mph. Average temp 18 degrees C. 

Day 1 – Didcot to Holyhead

I have embarked upon the Lôn Las Cymru cycle route. Travelling from Holyhead in North Wales down to Cardiff through Snowdonia, mid Wales and the Brecon Beacons. 

Day 1. The leg I dreaded most. I am not comfortable being entirely in the hands of public transport. My misgivings were not entirely unwarranted

My journey began well, as my bike route, planned by computer and transfered to my bike sat nav, got me safely from home, across some of the Ridgeway, through a few bridle ways and footpaths, onto the former railway line that ran between Didcot and Newbury (the West Hagbourne to Didcot section now a dedicated cycle path), before arriving safely at Didcot Parkway. 

On arriving at Didcot my only thought was to find a toilet quickly courtesy last night’s chilli! But my mind and body was soon diverted with the frustrating news that my first train was cancelled and a replacement bus service was running instead, due to delayed engineering works. This has the knock on effect that I would miss all my connections at Oxford, Birmingham New Street and Crewe. My train ticket, booked months in advance, now potentially useless. Tickets are cheaper when booked in advance providing you travel on the prescribed service. Deviation from the timetable usually invalidates the ticket. 

I queued up and explained my predicament to the ticket clerk. He didn’t listen and told me I needed to go back online to get a refund. I explained I did not want a refund I wanted to go to Holyhead. He explained I could just catch later trains. He printed off a piece of paper and passed it to me. I walked away believing he had given me alternate bookings. I looked at the paper. He had not. He had given me an alternate itinerary. I went back to the window where he was now dealing with a very large but very understanding man, who let me back in the front of the queue to discuss my predicament. I explained I needed new bookings on different trains. The ticket clerk told me I didn’t as the first train was cancelled and it was not my fault. I left not entirely happy with the remedy. This might be okay at Didcot Parkway, where passenger confusion presently reigned supreme. But would it wash with a belligerent guard north of Birmingham? I resigned myself to crossing that bridge if it came. 

Just after 10:00AM and that illusive toilet stop, the audibly relieved station manager declared over the tannoy system that the overrunning engineering works, causing everybody’s stress, had been completed. The trains could begin running again. 30 minutes later I managed to get on the first train to Oxford. Only to be told that I had to get off the train because there was no room for my bike. I responded by explaining both my bike and I would be remaining on the train. His response was to query whether I had booked on this train. My very short fuse was just about to blow, as I explained I had booked my bike for the cancelled train over an hour ago. He recanted and I continued on my journey. 

Aside from this my journey was okay. I made all my connections and had no further issues. I was not asked for a ticket until just before Bangor, next to Anglesey. When I handed it over there was no issue at all. My bike had room on every train, but the spaces for bikes are too narrow. If there were other bikes, they would have struggled to get them on.  Come on train companies, it’s time to divert some of those vast shareholder dividends into acknowledging the UK’s expanding commitment to cycling. This new policy of booking bikes in advance stacks the deck in the favour of the the supplier not the customer. Just to be clear. Before you monetise them, bikes should travel for free. On account of their negative carbon contribution and their improving the health of the nation. With the right planning bikes and trains could have a symbiotic relationship in regards to our national travel conundrum. 

The second tier of my problem with public transport (apart from the transport) is the public. Perhaps it’s because I’m an introverted snob, but there are some fucking wankers in the general public. There are a few individuals who just know how to press my buttons. There was a man who I will describe as a ‘gum chewing cunt’ who sat next to me and audibly masticated. He unknowingly received my hardest Paddington Bear stare. He was the dregs for me. But the tattooed lady on her mobile phone sitting next to me, explaining to Brian that she didn’t care what he did, and that she hadn’t cheated on him… for a long time, and that she was off to see someone… someone else Brian, and that she was on the train, and that everyone could hear their conversation… do you think they want to hear this Brian, and that Brian could call the police if he wanted, because Brian made death threats as well… She deserves a special mention. 

So finally, after contending with this, and people who apparently cannot wait for a cyclist to load and unload a bike, I reached Holyhead. 

Me and my bike outside Holyhead train station
After taking this photo three young lads approached with a bit of menace. 

“Smile” they jeered at me taking my selfie. 

“Alright?” I said looking they biggest one square in the face. “What are you lot up to?”

“Not much.” The same nonchalant teenage indifference endemic throughout Britain. 

“Just hanging out?”

“Yeah.” 

“You local?”

“Yeah. Is that a sat nav for a bike?” The most vocal of the kids said. 

“Yeah it is.” I replied. A bit guarded they might make a grab for it and run. 

“Cool. Where are you from?”

“Didcot.”

“Where’s that?”

“South Central England. I’m cycling from here to Cardiff.”

“Whaaat! You mad cunt!”

I laughed. “It’s good trust me it’s fun. You should think about doing something like that. It’s really good.” The oldest one seemed to consider it as a future possibility. 

“Yeah we could stop for spiffs on the way.” Piped up the smaller one. A face covered in small scars, I imagine from fighting, no doubt the first of many brush strokes on the canvas. I was a little shocked. These kids were clearly streetwise, but they seemed the wrong side of 15 for familiarity with cannabis. 

“How old are you?” I asked. 

“13.”

“13. Wow. Aren’t you a bit young for spliffs. I didn’t have my first spliff till I was 17.” This is both a lie (I was actually 15) and a shameful attempt at trying to unnecessarily ingratiate myself with the youth. Who, in a group of three, were a bit scary. 

“No. I had my first one when I was 10.” Said Mini-Scarface. With a proud flash of their little Baggie of skunk they departed. 

So ended my interactions with the Holyhead welcoming committee. They were okay lads I suppose. They could have just as easily said ‘Fuck off wanker’ and nicked my sat nav. They were a bit threatening, but this is probably systematic of their everyday interactions. Given the clues from Mini-Scarface they’re probably used to getting fairly negative replies and responding in kind. I must admit it made me feel sad that they were already dabbling with soft drugs at their age. Options stripped away and replaced with short term entertainment. I genuinely felt concerned that statistically one of them could be on heroin by the time they were 18. But maybe they would turn out just fine. 

I don’t know the statistics for the area but Holyhead seems pretty run down and starved of investment. Maybe because I hail from the more affluent south I’m prejudice. I’m sure there is a good community. I’m not knocking the people but it seemed that there is little to do. The first wave of investment seems to be around the 1850’s, when the major port link to Ireland was invested in. A second wave appears to be post WW2, where a lot of housing appears to have been built. Housing is quite basic and later housing has copied the rendered 1950’s bungalow architecture that expanded the town. I imagine there is fairly high unemployment and prospects seem few. Apparently a major employer was an aluminium company that closed its doors in 2009.  It’s not a pretty place but few port towns I’ve visited are. It is located on an island separate from Anglesey (itself an island), called Holy Island. It being the major port to Ireland has clear influences from Eire, as well as Liverpool; the local accent sounds scouse. Wales is obviously the predominant vein though. The Welsh language is in common use. 

So I have checked into Anglesey Outdoors. A nice clean, no frills but comfortable hostel and tomorrow I begin the ride proper. I’m looking forward to it. 

Walking

So we walked. To find our way. Through the deceit, we put the next foot in front of the last. Pressing out the ground ahead. Sure footed, but blind to our path. 

Where were we going? We never knew. We just knew we had to move forward. Why were we walking? Because it was too dangerous to run or stand still. 

Our feet were still wet from the path already taken, we hoped the path that lay ahead would not soak into us as before. You find us now still walking. We will not stop. 

The Benevolent Psychopath

He raised the glass of water to his lips. A sip before he prepared to walk through the door to face them. Inside he was mildly aggrieved he still had to do this. He did not need to pretend to be accountable. We all have a role to play. If he had genuinely been at fault, he would have already paid. He had not. He had been rewarded. He grew sick justifying himself. No matter what he said the message would never sink in to some of them.

He did not like to face them like this. He preferred it when he had complete control of the questions. Here, the selected questioners would ask their own interpretation of predetermined questions. He knew the benefit. But he always preferred to work to a tight script. Especially when reputations depended on it. This improvisational style left room for error. He might rush. Slip up. He spent years mastering the art of controlling the narrative. They were there for one reason and one reason only. To convey his message.

He understood why the report was written. There was traction in the whispers, and they had started to take root. It was agreed months before. The author had done his job. Ultimately no one was culpable and no one important would face charges. It appeared to be damning. It seemed to vilify, yet at the same time it exonerated him. There would be some fall out, but he would be free to continue. He was given assurances before the process began.

The more scathing content was diluted by the exorbitant word count. Funny. No one had yet questioned why it was not edited down in the years it took to publish. No real substance could be extracted, cross checked, sourced and established, before a thousand other saga’s edge the agenda forward.

The author was in the club. A long way down, but he took the oath. There was never going to be any real questions to answer. The timing was perfect. Right in the maelstrom. It made him smile. Sometimes it made him laugh. The thought of it now excited him. It awakened the nurtured animal.

He would feed it later, now he was getting into character. Greasepaint had been applied. He now appeared pallid, strained, slightly gaunt. They would speculate that perhaps the pressure was finally taking its toll. He watched the mirror, transformed from well healed to haunted. He remembered how great actors throw on their characters with their costumes, then leave them both back on the rack at the end of the performance. His smile waned and retreated to the wings.

A sincere, humble man stepped forward. He walked to the door, a murmur behind the timber and varnish anticipated his entrance. He stopped and looked down. He took two breaths. In. Out. In. Out. The words of his coach at final rehearsal resonated. Take your time. Don’t race. Leave long pauses. Add gravitas. Remember who you are.

The last phrase could have been a question. He remembered. He was enjoying his reward. He would always have to keep working. Keep on giving. So many acheivements. The goal was now palpable. He would always keep giving. I’ll be with you whatever.

He opened the door. The room hushed. He walked to the podium and began to speak.

Time For Real Change

A dragon has been wounded. Inconceivable mortality. Vicious. Dangerous. Its wound, a scratch. Its roar, has a timbre of fear. For now it knows its foe will slay it with a simple word.

Its a little odd to me that the British people’s decision to leave the EU appears shrouded in fear and uncertainty. I think it is the best opportunity to begin to change the things that have, until now, been accepted as unchangeable. While people are exercising their disbelief regarding the outcome of the referendum,  the clamouring system is clumsily trying to retain control.

There is a definable ideological debate between the centralisation of control, posited as globalism and internationalism, and a resistance against that. A number of interesting developments have occurred in recent days.

The man appointed to head up the government’s EU exit task force is one Oliver Letwin. His biography demonstrates he is every bit an establishment man and was pro Britain remaining within the EU. Unsurprisingly, a government that is pro EU has appointed someone who is pro EU to head up a task force to determine how Britain will leave the EU. All the while no action has actually been taken to facilitate exit of the EU.

There is now the added distraction of both the Conservative party leadership contest and the Labour party leadership attempted coup. The cries of ‘backstabbing’ regarding the Gove/Johnson leadership coup coupled with the remonstrations for Corbyn to ‘step down’ currently fill the headlines.

This week the long awaited Chilcot report will be released. After years of delays the two million plus word report will be released. It is already clear that, although their may be criticism of the leaders at the time, the only people who will face any serious consequences are smaller cogs in the machine. Presently, Tony Blair is being presented as some kind of elder statesman, to advise the world on the outcome of the EU referendum. His opinion on this matter, along with so many others, is unsolicited and superfluous. Mr Blair has had his day. His legacy is ISIS, the current instability of the Middle East and an unwinnable war against a concept. The ‘war on terrorism’, imbibed and promoted by Blair, is nothing but the promotion of fear itself. Keep the people scared and they will not challenge power.

It is worth remembering that every major bank, head of state, corporation, political party, most of the mainstream media and significant elite affiliated organisations were against the UK leaving the EU.

I am pleased to have been part of a voice that stood up to every major facet of the status quo. In the face of all their power, fear-mongering, resources and 24/7 propaganda machine people stood up and said “no”.

Like all great concepts this was a surprisingly easy action.  It sets out the manifesto going forward. We just need to say “no” a bit more often. No thanks. I do not comply. We do not agree with centralised government, international monetary policy, big banks that are ‘too big to fail’, money invented from thin air, wars to ‘bring freedom and democracy’, surveillance of our daily lives to ‘keep us free’, increasingly militarised police force, ‘global problems’ requiring ‘global solutions’, closed courts and wars against concepts.

If we do not comply with this, we can take the power we have given to these people back from them and govern our own lives again. It is up to us to make the change we want to see. We have allowed the system its control. It is power we grant them, not the other way around. We owe it to ourselves and anything we care about to stand up to it. All we need to do is carry on as we have begun and say “No”. We do not need to raise arms. No bullets need to be fired. We just say “No”.

And as we do this we continue to do what we do best. We build and create. We take care of each other. It is people that care for people, not the state.  We share. we express. We debate and disseminate our ideas. We do not need an overarching blueprint setting out the roadmap for the future. We are the here and now. We just need to believe in ourselves and observe the natural laws that exist, whether we choose to see them or not. We do this like everything else we have done or ever will do, difficult or easy. We put one foot in the front of the other and keep on walking forward.

Its time to get heads out of arses. Get up, get motivated, stop looking to leaders for answers. Get out of this cycle that every time there is a problem, we react with fear and look outside for a solution. We are the solution. We are the change we will see.

Leaving the EU – Chapter 1

The fallout from the UK European Referendum result was predictable no matter which way the result went. The UK still have a long way to go before they leave the EU. 

When I woke up on Friday 24th June 2016 I was genuinely surprised by the result of the UK EU referendum. I had gone to bed the previous night slightly deflated that a ‘Remain’ result was imminent. I had just read an article that confirmed ‘Boris Johnson admits defeat on the tube’. I was sickened by the jingoism of some remain voters on Twitter tweeting under # images of Nigel Farage in the mangled wreckage of the light aircraft that crashed during his 2010 election campaign, with the accompanying suggestion ‘crash test dummy’.

By the end of Thursday I had had enough. The emotional manipulation, the claims of far right infiltration, of Eton boys having a punch up, the analogous claim that a vote for leave is a vote for racism, and the apparent genuine belief that to leave the EU meant literally leaving Europe. Presumably by tugboats attached to north of Scotland?

I felt disappointed that the debate had become so muddied and, to my mind, a central thread of the narrative in the latter stages of the campaign became heavily focussed upon an MP who had been murdered. Because Jo Cox MP supported remaining in the EU her death became a reason to remain in the EU.

With a strong focus by the mass media in the MP’s death, culminating in what would have been Mrs Cox’s 42nd birthday and Trafalgar Square tribute the day before polling, the debate over a choice to leave the EU was seemingly repackaged as an emotional decision.  News reports of flowers and tributes being laid outside Batley polling station (Mrs Cox’s constituency) on polling day was faintly reminiscent of the hyperbolic press reporting of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The murder of the MP was undeniably terrible. I believe the crime was cynically exploited to further a political agenda. Details I would expect not to see were published by the press. For example, on the 17th June 2016, the day after Mrs Cox death, the media were widely reporting that the police found nazi regalia and that the suspect was also known to have bought books from a US-based neo-Nazi group. I posit that reporting such information may jeopardise a fair trial.

I find many aspects of the media narrative surrounding the death of Jo Cox implausible and incoherent. I do not know the real truth about the incident and it is unwise to speculate.

The widespread profiling of the suspect within the mainstream media loudly reverberated through the EU debate as polls opened. By the end of polling day there was a clear sense that the propaganda machine had done its duty and the UK was to remain in the EU. Nigel Farage had conceded that the Remain side had probably won. It seemed like a done deal.

So it is with a sense of disbelief that I write this. It was close (it was always going to be) but the result was came in; a 4% lead in favour leaving the EU!

Now a week has passed and it doesn’t feel quite like the victory it was last Friday. It is as if a large proportion (although not the majority) of the population have rejected the outcome of the democratic process. The older generation have been denigrated, apparently by the young, for voting to leave. It has been estimated that 64% of 18-24 year olds did not vote. A petition for a second referendum was signed by millions, although many of the signatures on the petition had dubious origins.  Nicola Sturgeon is reported to have confirmed she may advise members of the Scottish parliament to block the UK exit from the EU. And David Cameron has not immediately invoked article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would start the process to exit the EU, as he told parliament he would do in February 2016.

What was the point in having a referendum if we were not going to observe the result?

For the record, I am quite content with voting leave. It is not something I regret, as the media have reported some leave voters are. Maybe they have, but I doubt these people are significant enough to overturn the result. There are plenty of people who’s decision to vote either way was not based on the rational. Should we now factor people’s reasons for voting as a barometer of their legitimacy to vote? Should some votes be more equal than others?

When I see the reaction from Jean Claude Juncker in the EU parliament I am pleased that the majority of the UK voted to leave the super  state:


I do not doubt there are hard times ahead. From the political rhetoric and the way the vested interest financial sector are reacting, it appears that any deal between the UK and the EU is going to be difficult. It seems that there is a popular belief that the EU hold the best hand and the UK will have to capitulate to such an extent that we may as well have just stayed in the EU in the first place. I think not, and it is concerning that the likes of Boris Johnson are looking for some kind of EU-lite membership renegotiation.

My knee jerk reaction to the vote was that we must invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty immediately. However, having now read around the subject it appears this is not the only, or best route to leaving the EU. In fact, Article 50 allows the EU to offer terms for the UK to accept and dictates the time frame in which negotiations will take place without a framework within that period. Effectively the EU could offer a deal at the 11th hour which the UK may feel forced to accept without reasonable reflection.

An alternative, and probably better way of conducting matters would be for the UK government to repeal the European Communities Act 1972, which is the legislature that allows UK government ministers to transpose EU Directives and rulings of the European Court of Justice into UK law.

With this Act repealed the UK would no longer have legislature which enables EU legislation to be imposed. We are then free to ratify any sensible existing legislation (workers rights etc.) and discard that which we do not need. We could then begin a process of negotiation with the EU that allows the UK a more equal footing at the negotiating table. Once negotiations had been completed we could then invoke Article 50 and allow that process to begin. In any event the European Communities Act 1972 will need to be repealed. It strikes me this would be the best way to respect the will of the people and negotiate the best deal.

To be continued…